The new year starts with an eye-catching clash between Arsenal and Manchester United, while Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola meet once more.
Deadly attackers on display at the Emirates
Arsenal’s inability to see out Sunday’s game against Chelsea proved costly but they have the chance to make amends as Manchester United visit the Emirates on Wednesday night. The Red Devils have won their last two games but have been far from convincing this season, largely due to a defence that has kept just one clean sheet in ten away league games. Given Arsenal’s growing list of injured defenders, it could be that this clash is decided by the strikers rather than any stability at the back. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored in both of Mikel Arteta’s first two games as Gunners boss, taking his tally to 13 for the league season (including the equaliser when these sides met in September). United, meanwhile, will look to Marcus Rashford to extend his scoring run after he netted six times in December. Who will emerge on top?
Moyes back “home” at West Ham
No sooner had Manuel Pellegrini had shut the door behind him at the London Stadium than David Moyes was announced as his successor at West Ham. The Scot arrives at the club just 18 months after leaving and has sounded extremely confident in the subsequent interviews, describing the club as “home”, a strange statement given his previous spell lasted for just seven months. His first game comes against fellow strugglers Bournemouth, who have taken just four points from their last nine games. As a result, Moyes has reason to believe his “new” side can record a first home win since September.
Kane to continue record against Saints
Following a disappointing 2-2 draw at Norwich on Saturday, Tottenham have the chance to start 2020 with a rare away win as they travel to a resurgent Southampton side. The London outfit lost 2-1 at St. Mary’s last March and if they are to improve upon that result here it is likely that Harry Kane will be key. So far in his relatively brief career he has netted nine times against the Saints, having only been more prolific against Arsenal (ten goals) and Leicester (14). Surprisingly, a goal on Saturday would mean that he has scored in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time this season. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side are unbeaten in their last three games, though, so Kane may not find it such a straightforward task.
Ancelotti’s big test
Having seen off Burnley and Newcastle in his first two games at the helm of Everton, Carlo Ancelotti is set for what should be a somewhat sterner test as he travels to reigning champions Manchester City. Ancelotti’s arrival on Merseyside raised a few eyebrows as his so-far illustrious career has taken an unexpected in direction. In truth, he has not tasted success since he took over at Bayern Munich from Pep Guardiola, his opposite number on Saturday. Guiding the Toffees to a result at City, against whom they have lost four games in a row, would certainly remind everyone that he should be considered at Guardiola’s level.
Blades to provide stern test to Reds
Halfway through the season and Sheffield United sit eighth in the table. The Blades have proven extremely difficult to beat so far, as attested to by the fact that Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Manchester City was their first away defeat of the campaign. They next travel to runaway leaders Liverpool, to whom they were unfortunate to lose when they met in September. Jurgen Klopp’s side ran out 1-0 winners on that occasion thanks to a late goalkeeping error from Dean Henderson. If Sheffield United can avoid such cruel misfortune on Thursday, Liverpool are unlikely to have it all their own way.